A day in the life of a funeral director – 3 things you probably didn’t know

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Most people in the community, may not necessarily know what the role of a funeral director is. You would assume that as the name suggests, they have something to do with funerals and involvement in planning a service to commemorate and celebrate a lifetime.

At some stage in everyone’s life, the engagement of a funeral director will happen. We hope to be able to shed some light on our role as funeral directors in helping families in our community through our family business, Victoria Cross Funerals.

Behind the scenes of a funeral director at Victoria Cross Funerals

As a funeral director, being comfortable with having a flexible schedule with our family and work life is a must. With our business open 7 days a week and being available 24 hours, it means our phone can ring at any stage of the day. Usually, this is because a loved one, has passed away and they need to be picked up from the place of death.

Public hospitals are normally flexible and work with the funeral director and their families to arrange the transfer when it’s suitable for the family. On the other hand, nursing homes and aged care facilities may have limited mortuary facilities, so it may not be uncommon to receive a phone call from the family at 3 am on a Sunday to begin transfer proceedings.  Being there for our families and their passed loved ones is our primary responsibility and commitment. Peace of mind of funeral care with Victoria Cross Funerals.

Peace of mind of funeral care with Victoria Cross Funerals

Once the phone call is placed to the Victoria Cross Funerals team, what happens?

Given the team is available 24/7, finding out what the family needs and wants are the first items on our checklist. Once the loved one has been transferred into the care of the Victoria Cross Funerals state-of-the-art mortuary facilities, the team will work through via a face-to-face meeting (usually) or zoom whichever is more convenient, to go through the specific family requests. This can include: cremation versus burial, service or no service, burial plot organised or not? Personalised service or not, flowers or donation to a charity, presentation or no presentation, these are just a few of the examples of services our families ask us to help with.

Customer service is paramount for our families

Customer service that is efficient, empathetic, and has you the customer at the center is what makes us stand out versus other funeral homes.  Many funeral homes, like Victoria Cross Funerals, are family businesses, for which the funeral director is normally the owner.

Striving for a great relationship and service with their customers is key.  To achieve this, processes and procedures are in place for funeral homes like Victoria Cross Funerals. These provide guidance and expectations on what service level needs to be adhered to every time and anytime. What does this mean for our customers? It means that  Victoria Cross Funerals can deliver on their promise of creating the perfect lasting memory for families and their loved ones at their passing.

What takes place during the planning phase of a funeral

A great funeral director and their team will coordinate all the New South Wales Government regulations administration and when it comes to the service, they can be flexible to the wishes of the families when arranging the funeral and making sure that the personality and celebration of the loved one, is expressed throughout the day.  This can normally be observed by personal touches, usually, of the input from the family and friends.  When speaking with Victoria and Nicole from Victoria Cross Funerals,

creating the perfect lasting memory for the family and friends is the priority and commitment to every family”

It is, not just the words on a website, but the experience that cannot be explained in the package description that the Victoria Cross Funerals team is known for.

Communication of the important funeral dates is part of the service

Before the funeral service, whether it is at a chapel or church, the Victoria Cross Funerals team will ensure that everyone who needs to know about the funeral, will be communicated to ahead of time, and be given the times, dates, and locations.

You will always see the Victoria Cross Funerals team, be attentive to all the needs of the family, and as directors, they attend every single funeral themselves. This means that they are available, present, and ready to assist the families, before, at, and after the funeral service.

Flexibility in funeral services beyond the burial and cremation:

Obituary: An obituary is important in letting people know of the passing of a loved one, and also communicating the key dates, times, and locations to the general community.  The funeral directors and their teams will prepare the obituary, and then publish it on your behalf usually in the local or national newspaper.

Services that need help on the day: The funeral director, will guide on selecting pallbearers and they will also liaise with the clergy on your behalf. For burials, they will arrange, the opening and closing of graves with the representatives of the cemetery, they will also prepare and decorate the site for worship at the cemetery. This includes transporting all the flowers and wreaths that families have sent for the service, to the cemetery too.

What happens to the flowers that people send to funerals?

When flowers arrive at a funeral service, they are arranged at the front of the chapel or church. Once the service is finished, the Victoria Cross Funerals team, transfer every flower arrangement to the burial or cremation site.  With cremations, families have the option to have the flowers either transferred to the crematorium or the family home. This is a personal choice and the Victoria Cross Funerals teams, are there every step of the way for the families.

What are some of the things that funeral directors and their teams can offer to make the experience easier than it needs to be?

Some of the extra things that funeral directors can organise include:   a wake-up call for family members, air-conditioned transport for family members, food like snacks, and water during the day to keep the bereaved family hydrated, specific music, a presentation celebrating the life of the loved one and since COVID-19, the Victoria Cross Funerals team has experienced an increase in popularity for live web-streaming service via Facebook. This is normally discussed with the family as an option to consider.

Flower arrangements play such a critical part in the celebration of the passing of a loved one. The Victoria Cross Funeral team works with some reliable and amazing florists/ Should you or any family member need to organise flowers to be sent to the funeral service, the team is always available to help and provide direction on the right floral arrangement, and to what is acceptable for each unique funeral service and culture.  Nicole, our Operations Director, has several resources available to help with these requests. Contact her today to request information on flower selections and selecting the right funeral.

Organising the funeral is a big job, is there much administration in the arrangement of a funeral?

As a funeral home, we play a major role in navigating the funeral arrangements. This includes for all New South Wales funerals, that the laws and regulations are adhered to.  Victoria Cross Funerals has a dedicated operations director, whose role is to ensure that our service offering is of the highest standard. This means that we are constantly updating our service and offering to meet the strict requirements of the NSW Regulations, and good practices.  This includes having the most up-to-date administration paperwork, that our procedures are updated, and that all staff is trained in each of our processes and procedures. This was particularly important and still is important as we navigate the COVID-19 requirements.

A great funeral director will take away any overwhelming feelings or emotions by organising a funeral. It should be effortless and allow you to mourn and grieve.

In summary, whether it is 9 am or in the middle of the night, the funeral director is always there for you.

There is no doubt in my mind that funeral directors are there to support you before, during, and after a funeral service for your loved ones” comments Nicole Papargyriou, Operations Director at Victoria Cross Funerals.

We hope you have experienced a bit of a snapshot into the life of a funeral director and their team? The Victoria Cross Funerals team has been very obliging in allowing us to interview them for this post.

The life of a funeral director is all about helping families and individuals, cope with one of the most challenging times in the life of any human. The passing of a loved one. As a funeral director, it is our responsibility for organising the celebration of life and ensuring that all logistical requirements are taken care of. This means that normal 9 to 5 business hours are not common in this industry.

Victoria Vitetzakis – Managing / Funeral DirectorNicole Papargyriou – Operations Director

To reach out to the Victoria Cross Funerals Team, please reach out via email to info@victoriacrossfunerals.com.au  or call 91887708

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